Friday, September 30, 2005

Typhoon Damrey has been romping through China, Vietnam and environs and, posting winds of 125 mph, has killed some 89 people to date and caused huge damage. Apparently it is the strongest typhoon in 10 years.

It's interesting that the UK televisual media have not mentioned this at all, although coverage of Katrina and Rita in the US was bordering on 'blanket' at times. There has been enormous focus on hurricanes in the Atlantic, but there doesn't appear to be the same attention for the Pacific/Indian Ocean equivalents, presumeably because they rarely affect the US. The question that arises is whether the trends are the same, and what effect climate change/global warming might be having on them. Given there will undoubtedly be significant diffrences in circulation and heat distribution, it may be too difficult to make such a comparison. I will have to go and have a look and see what's been researched so far.

I'll see what the boys and girls at Real Climate have to say on the matter.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Greetings from a soggy Hampshire. It's been a long time since I was at this blog, but then it has been a ferocious few weeks. In that time the blessed spaniel died, and my sister and I contrived to part company, which has been a drama, a trauma and, finally, a relief.

So what was Rita thinking of, missing Galveston and Houston like that? There was a perfect opportunity to really focus US minds on the need to be rather more frugal in their use of fossil fuels. Instead, glodfish like, everyone will be back to business as usual within days.

Today it has been reported that Tony Blair has become a fully formed poodle of the Bush Administration, having now adopted its view on tackling climate change - i.e. do sod all, keep making money from oil, understand that the environment is there to be exploited not nurtured (too expensive, and eats into profit), and hope the market will deliver technological fixes.

So there we are, our Prime Minister, elected as the man to run a sovereign nation, has managed in just eight years, to make us the lap dog of the Americans and so also hated across the globe. He has tossed away the opportunity to start saving humanity from certain catastrophe if climate change is not dealt with. He has taken us into an unjustifiable war from which we now cannot easily extricate ourselves. He has presided over rafts of panic-measure legislation that are destroying civil liberties in a nation that has been a beacon to the world in such matters. His presidency of the EU has been pitiful thus far.

Why, I wonder, does the Labour Party not just ditch him? He is now a serious electoral liability. But I guess until there is stronger opposition in the House of Commons, that possibility has no real force to it. With the Lib Dems now starting to lose their way and the Conservatives remaining rather incoherent we are in danger of sleep walking into an effective dictatorship.

On the bright side, however, I'm moving along now, with my CV fully tarted up, and two applications for jobs now sent off. I do hope the right job comes along soonbecause my brain is going to start rotting from boredom soon. Not really, I've got lots of stuff on the board, from researching ecohousing and permaculture, to polishing up my Dutch and French. Not to mention the endless search for jobs, although there aren't many that I can apply for without moving house, and that isn't going to happen until Willem has finished his GCSEs.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The sequelae of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina are a testament to the cpacity of people to ignore the obvious when it looks like it might not be profitable. A key component of the level of destruction was the removal of wetlands to enable development to occur. Yet it has been known for decades that in estuarine environments the wetlands are a key buffer against sudden rises in water level.

But in the case of New Orleans the authorities consistently ignored this and permitted development to occur. In whose best interests was that, I wonder? This approach will be increasingly costly as the power and frequency of hurricanes increases with ongoing global warming. There are going to be some very significant adjustments in the thinking of the insurance industry, I fancy. I wonder when the insurers will start to lean on the US administration to start taking climate change seriously?